On 8 August, ANZCCJ members and guests were invited for a discussion with Panasonic Wild Knights and Super Rugby Coach Robbie Deans, with special guests Sunwolves CEO Yuji Watase and Senior Director at the Rugby World Cup Planning Committee, Koji Tokumasu. Deans` Super Rugby coaching career was the most successful in Super Rugby history having coached the Crusaders through a number of wins as well as coach to the Wallabies, Assistant Coach to the All Blacks and currently the Panasonic Wild Knights.
When Deans first joined the Crusaders (as Manager), they were ranked last on the ladder. He was simultaneously appointed to the role of Coach of the Canterbury Provincial team and won the NPC Title for the first time in 14 years. To motivate his new squad, they decided to start with the end in mind in other words, what would it look like when they have mastered the competition? For the Crusaders the core focus was coaching. Deans went on to outline 5 key points that helped nurture the winning culture of the Crusaders which included: Viewing challenges or obstacles as stepping stones; Promoting a learning environment with a long-term focus; Creating a collective purpose with a shared vision; Peer-driven leadership; And fostering a ‘live it’ culture. Robbie finished his Super Rugby coaching career with 7 championships (two as a manager and 5 as coach).
Moving discussions to his current role at the Panasonic Wild Knights, he mentioned that it had been a privilege and pleasure to coach in Japan. Japan has the unique situation in which it captures the rugby culture of old, amateurs and professionals blend together and play for the love of the game.